AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 23, Issue 17, August 15, 2022
- Congress Passes Landmark Climate Bill
- Biden Signs “CHIPS and Science” Legislation into Law
- House Passes Wildfire, Drought Legislation
- Biden to Appoint New Director at National Cancer Institute
- AIBS Webinar: Outcomes from the 2021 IDEA Conference
- Now Available: 2021 AIBS Annual Report
- Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest
- Short Takes
- Senate Confirms USGS Director
- NSF BIO Welcomes New IOS Division Director
- NASEM Virtual Event on Climate Change, Wildfires
- NASEM Workshop Proceedings Available: Biotech Capabilities, Security
- From the Federal Register
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Congress Passes Landmark Climate Bill
Both chambers of Congress have now passed a sweeping climate, healthcare, and tax reform bill that would inject roughly $369 billion into programs to combat climate change and boost clean energy production.
Democrats estimate that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376) would allow the U.S. to reduce emissions by roughly 40 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030, while also shrinking the federal deficit by approximately $300 billion.
The bill includes incentives for renewable energy; $60 billion for environmental justice programs; support for climate research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; provisions for conservation, reforestation, and wildfire programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; funds to address a historic drought in the US; as well as millions to address the threat of invasive species and carry out endangered species recovery.
Notably, the bill would provide $2 billion over 5 years to support facilities construction and infrastructure upgrades at Department of Energy (DOE) national labs, of which roughly $1.5 billion would go to the DOE Office of Science. This is a much smaller allocation compared to the nearly $13 billion that was set aside for the DOE office in the original Build Back Better reconciliation package, which also included billions in funding for other research agencies.
In addition to the climate provisions, H.R. 5376 would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, extend the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025, and impose a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations.
The finalized legislation—touted as the biggest investment in clean energy and climate solutions in U.S. history—passed both the House and Senate along party-lines. Using the budget reconciliation process allowed Democrats to circumvent a Senate filibuster and pass the bill by a simple majority vote.
President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law this week.
Biden Signs “CHIPS and Science” Legislation into Law
On August 9, 2022, President Biden signed into law a bipartisan innovation bill—ultimately branded “the CHIPS and Science Act”—to significantly boost semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research in the United States.
The $280 billion package (H.R. 4346) contains billions in research spending authorizations at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE). It includes $81 billion in authorized spending for NSF over 5 years, of which $20 billion would go to its new technology directorate. NSF’s annual budget would more than double from $8.8 billion in FY 2022 to $18.9 billion in FY 2027. The measure also provides NSF with an appropriation of $200 million over 5 years to create a CHIPS for America Workforce and Education Fund. Notably, the bill includes language supporting investments in biological field stations and biological research collections.
Other notable science provisions in the package include:
- A five-year authorization of $50 billion for DOE’s Office of Science that translates to an authorized budget of $10.8 billion for the office in FY 2027.
- A measure to create a federal initiative on the bioeconomy to advance engineering biology research.
- A five-year authorization of $10 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
- A measure to expand research on the causes and consequences of sexual harassment impacting the STEM workforce.
- A measure to establish a 2-year pilot research fellowship program at NSF to support highly qualified early-career scientists.
- A measure supporting research to better understand the barriers minority serving institutions (MSIs) face, their contributions to the STEM workforce, and effective approaches to enhancing their capacity to compete for federal research funds.
- A measure, now named after House Science Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), to codify NSF INCLUDES with the goal of broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM education programs and careers.
- A measure directing the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to conduct a quadrennial assessment of U.S. science and technology and develop a comprehensive national strategy to meet research and development objectives and maintain global leadership in science and technology.
- A five-year authorization of $11 billion for a network of regional technology hubs, funded by the Department of Commerce and focused on technology development, job creation, and expanding U.S. innovation capacity.
- A measure that directs NSF to support STEM education and workforce development research focused on rural areas.
Although the final legislation is a trimmed down version of the bills initially passed by the House and Senate, the CHIPS and Science Act nevertheless represents a major step towards ensuring U.S. leadership and competitiveness in science and innovation. “All too often, government and businesses are accused of thinking too short term, but this is one of the most significant long-term-thinking bills in ages,” argued Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which AIBS is a member, applauded the passage of the bill with a statement. “Congress has set an ambitious vision for NSF to initiate critical regional innovation activities, increase its STEM workforce and capacity building efforts, and enhance research in essential technology areas and national, social, and geopolitical challenges,” noted CNSF. “However, none of these activities in the CHIPS and Science bill will be fully realized unless Congress pairs this first step with appropriate funding measures.” The coalition urged Congress to “take the next important step of providing a robust infusion of funds to NSF” through fiscal year 2023 appropriations and beyond.
House Passes Wildfire, Drought Legislation
On July 29, the House voted along party lines to pass the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118), a package of 48 bills that would boost wildfire resilience and preparedness, increase salaries for wildland firefighters, and fund water conservation efforts to address the drought in Western states.
The bill’s lead sponsor, Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO), said the bill “meets the moment” for Western states struggling with wildfires and drought. “Across America the impacts of climate change continue to worsen, and in this new normal historic droughts and record setting wildfires have become all too common. What once were wildfire seasons are now wildfire years,” he added.
The bill would approve a 10-year wildfire strategy at the U.S. Forest Service, provide $500 million for forest management projects; allocate $500 million to carry out vegetation, watershed, wildlife and fisheries management activities; and direct the Department of Agriculture to conduct 20 large forest restoration projects over five years.
Notably, the package includes provisions from H.R. 5781, the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act, which was introduced by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) last year. This measure would boost research on wildfire prediction, firefighting, and impacts to human health, including the impacts of climate change on wildfires. It also includes provisions to research active management of forests and prescribed burns, and to create a National Advisory Committee on Wildland Fire Risk Reduction. The initiatives envisioned in H.R. 5781 would be accomplished across a number of federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy.
The drought portion of the legislation would invest $500 million in efforts by the Department of the Interior to “reduce the near-term likelihood of Lake Mead and Lake Powell declining to critically low water elevations.” The package also includes a measure called the “Water Data Act,” which would create a multiagency initiative to track and standardize information on streamflow, precipitation, groundwater, soil moisture, snow, evaporation, water quality, and water use to improve water resources management.
H.R. 5118 will now be taken up in the Senate, where its future is uncertain.
Biden to Appoint New Director at National Cancer Institute
President Biden has announced that he intends to appoint Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli as the 16th Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Bertagnolli is a surgical oncologist with decades of clinical and leadership experience. She will become the first woman to lead NCI, which supports the majority of cancer research in the US. In this role, Bertagnolli will also spearhead Cancer Moonshot, an initiative to cure cancer created by Biden in 2016, when he was Vice President.
She is currently the Richard E. Wilson professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and also serves as a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and as a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Dr. Bertagnolli will replace Dr. Norman Sharpless, who stepped down as NCI Director in April. NCI Principal Deputy Director Dr. Douglas Lowy has been serving as Acting Director in the interim.
AIBS Webinar: Outcomes from the 2021 IDEA Conference
In 2021, AIBS expanded our annual meeting of the AIBS Council of Member Societies and Organizations into the IDEA conference. This IDEA conference, supported by the National Science Foundation’s LEAPS program, focuses on Enabling Scientific Societies to Support Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, and Accepting (IDEA) Scientific Environments. The first meeting of the conference was held in November of 2021, with the second one taking place this fall.
We will hold a webinar on August 23, 2022 to discuss the outcomes from the first meeting and lay the foundation for what to expect during the upcoming IDEA 2.0 conference. Register now.
Now Available: 2021 AIBS Annual Report
The 2021 AIBS Annual Report is now available online. Learn about how we are working to achieve our mission of advancing science-informed decision-making by publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience, by providing scientific peer review and advisory services to a variety of clients, and by collaborating with scientific organizations to advance public policy, education, and the public understanding of science.
Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest
Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest for a chance to win $250 and to have your photo appear on the cover of the journal BioScience.
The competition recognizes scientists who use imagery to communicate aspects of biological research to the public and policymakers. Once again, this year's competition is sponsored by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in addition to the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).
“Art and science are inextricably linked to effective communication,” said Scott Glisson, Chief Executive Officer of AIBS. “This contest provides a forum for expression, inspiration, and technical skill. The creativity involved is magnificent.”
The theme of the contest is “Faces of Biology.” Photographs entered into the competition must depict a person, such as a scientist, technician, or student, engaging in biological research. The depicted research may occur outside, in a lab, with a natural history collection, on a computer, in a classroom, or elsewhere.
The winning photo from the 2021 contest was featured on the cover of the April 2022 issue of BioScience.
Submissions must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2022. For more information or to enter the contest, visit our website.
- On August 4, the Senate confirmed Dr. David Applegate as the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Applegate, a geologist, joined USGS in 2004 as Senior Science Adviser for earthquake and geological hazards and then led its Natural Hazards Mission Area for a decade. He has been serving as the agency’s Acting Director since the start of the Biden Administration.
- The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) in the Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) has a new Division Director. Dr. Denise Dearing, a Distinguished Professor of biological sciences from the University of Utah, will lead IOS in supporting the research community to advance the understanding of organisms as integrated units, including in how they behave, develop, and interact with a changing environment. Dr. Dearing’s research focuses on the ecology and evolution of dietary specialization in mammalian herbivores.
- Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) for a discussion about how planners and decision makers are coping with climate change and working to protect the built environment and human health in the face of more frequent and severe wildfires in the U.S. The conversation will be webcast on the “Climate Conversations: Wildfire” webpage on Thursday, August 25, 2022 from 3-4pm ET.
- The NASEM Standing Committee on Biotechnology Capabilities and National Security Needs organized two workshops earlier this year, titled ‘Cutting Edge Scientific Capabilities for Biological Detection’ and ‘Using Biology for Communication and Information Transmission.’ The presentations and discussions from those workshops are now available in the form of downloadable Proceedings-in-Brief publications.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity organization that advances the biological sciences for the benefit of science and society. AIBS works with like-minded organizations, funding agencies, and political entities to promote the use of science to inform decision-making. The organization does this by providing peer-reviewed or vetted information about the biology field and profession and by catalyzing action through building the capacity and the leadership of the community to address matters of common concern.
Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, AIBS has more than 100 member organizations and has a Public Policy Office in Washington, DC. Its staff members work to achieve its mission by publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience, by providing scientific peer-review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients, and by collaborating with scientific organizations to advance public policy, education, and the public understanding of science.